Citizens protest against increase in hotel rates

July 11 - Citizens have objected to the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities' (SCTA) decision to allow hotels and furnished apartments to raise their prices by up to a half over the summer vacation.

The SCTA said they would allow hotels and furnished apartments to hike prices by 30 per cent and 50 per cent respectively, from early July to late September. However, citizens say this adds an extra burden on people who want to spend their vacation inside the Kingdom.

The report, published on Thursday, said while owners and managers of hotels and furnished apartments welcomed the decision, citizens were not happy. "The high prices of accommodation, in addition to other costs of domestic tourism, is a major reason why many citizens opt to spend their summer vacations in other countries," said Saudi citizen Abdullah Al-Harbia.

He said once the high prices of hotels and furnished apartments were taken into account, the cost of domestic tourism would almost be the same as traveling to other countries over the summer.
Muhamamd Fawwaz is another citizen who agrees. "If the cost of domestic and overseas holidays is almost the same, why should I spend my vacation in the Kingdom?" he asked.

Meanwhile, Dr Salah Al-Bakheet, SCTA's vice chairman for investments, said the problem was not with high prices, but with the services provided by hotels and furnished apartments.

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